In September, defense contractor Raytheon announced an agreement to purchase R&D innovator BBN Technologies, but didn’t say for how much. Today, the deal closed and the price came out. It is $350 million.
Investors Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners, who co-led a management buyout in 2004, made out very nicely. Accel says that its cut was more than $100 million, which suggests it owned about a third of the company. (BBN was one of Accel partner Jim Breyer’s investments). Presumably, General Catalyst owned another third. The deal turned out to be more than a ten-bagger.
VC firms don’t normally invest in buyouts, but BBN has an unusually rich collection of intellectual property that goes way back to the end of WWII. As I described in my initial post:
BBN is a storied technology R&D powerhouse. Started in 1948 by a group of MIT professors, it invented many of the technologies of the early Internet, including packet switching (1969), the first network email (1971), the first router (1976). It also came up with the @ sign, but much of its work is for the military, which is why Raytheon snapped it up.